Bye-Bye London

In an interview with Haaretz in November 2010, British novelist Martin Amis said the following about discussions of Israel in his motherland:

I live in a mildly anti-Semitic country, and Europe is mildly anti-Semitic, and they hold Israel to a higher moral standard than its neighbors. If you bring up Israel in a public meeting in England, the whole atmosphere changes. The standard left-wing person never feels more comfortable than when attacking Israel. Because they are the only foreigners you can attack. Everyone else is protected by having dark skin, or colonial history, or something. But you can attack Israel. And the atmosphere becomes very unpleasant. It is traditional, snobbish, British anti-Semitism combined with present-day circumstances.

After participating last week in a debate in London about Israeli communities beyond the 1949 armistice lines organized by the self-consciously pretentious Intelligence Squared debating society, I can now say from personal experience that Amis is correct. The public atmosphere in England regarding Israel is ugly and violent.

The resolution we debated read: “Israel is destroying itself with its settlement policy. If settlement expansion continues Israel will have no future.”

My debating partner was Danny Dayan, the outgoing head of the Yesha Council.

We debated Daniel Levy, one of the founders of J-Street and the drafter of the Geneva Initiative, and the son of Lord Michael Levy, one of Tony Blair’s biggest fundraisers; and William Sieghart, a British philanthropist who runs a non-profit that among other things, champions Hamas. Levy has publicly stated that Israel’s creation was immoral. And Sieghart has a past record of saying that Israel’s delegitimization would be a salutary proces and calling for a complete cultural boycott of Israel while lauding Hamas.

We lost overwhelmingly. I think the final vote tally was something like 500 for the resolution and 100 against it.

A couple of impressions I took away from the experience: First, I can say without hesitation that I hope never to return to Britain. I actually don’t see any point. Jews are targeted by massive anti-Semitism of both the social and physical varieties. Why would anyone Jewish want to live there?

As to visiting as an Israeli, again, I just don’t see the point. The discourse is owned by anti-Israel voices. They don’t make arguments to spur thought, but to end it, by appealing to people’s passions.

For instance, in one particularly ugly segment, Levy made the scurrilous accusation that Israel systematically steals land from the Palestinians. Both Dayan and I demanded that he provide just one example of his charge. And the audience raged against us for our temerity at insisting that he provide substantiation for his baseless allegation. In the event, he failed to substantiate his allegation.

At another point, I was asked how I defend the Nazi state of Israel. When I responded by among other things giving the Nazi pedigree of the Palestinian nationalist movement founded by Nazi agent Haj Amin el Husseini and currently led by Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas, the crowd angrily shouted me down.

I want to note that the audience was made up of upper crust, wealthy British people, not unwashed rabble rousers. And yet they behaved in many respects like a mob when presented with pro-Israel positions.

I honestly don’t know whether there are policy implications that arise from my experience in London last week. I have for a long time been of the opinion that Israel shouldn’t bother to try to win over Europe because the Europeans have multiple reasons for always being anti-Israel and none of them have anything to do with anything that Israel does. As I discuss in my book, these reasons include anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, addiction to Arab oil, and growing Muslim populations in Europe.

I was prepared to conduct a civilized debate based on facts and reasoned argumentation. I expected it to be a difficult experience. I was not expecting to be greeted by a well-dressed mob. My pessimism about Europeans’ capacity to avail themselves to reasoned, fact-based argumentation about Israel has only deepened from the experience.

One positive note, I had a breakfast discussion last Wednesday morning with activists from the Zionist Federation of Britain. The people I met are committed, warm, hardworking Zionists. I wish them all the best, and mainly that means, that I hope that these wonderful people and their families make aliyah.

While their work is worthwhile, there is no future for Jews in England.

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  • Jossi

    Wonderful article Caroline. I emigrated to Israel a long time ago from a Western European country, I've already smelled and felt the anti-Semitism when I was in primary school.
    Keep up your great work, I'm looking forward to read your book when it'll be published. This article by the way should have been titled Bye Bye UK.

  • Adolf Hitler

    Europe is lost….it will be under sharia law before the end of this century. The transformation of the inhabitants into dhimmi status will be painful in many ways. However it will come to pass as we can see it happening before our very eyes today. Fascinating.

    • Drakken

      Europe is far from lost, it is only the beginning, as they say, you ain't see nothing yet.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Oi Vey!!! What next, merry old England always antisemetic and at the least mean spirited_towards Jews is about to enter and age of Islamist damnation that will cost in blood and_treasure and they demonstrate against the few decent people alive today in Israel. _Caroline Glick has the gift of
    insight,expression and surety in her writings. She does get to the point and it is clear
    that she was not listened to.

    How intolerant so called well healed audiences are, in fact they are probably just leftist hacks
    that graduated from a leftist institution and should all be sent to the Tower of London and given
    a few whacks on a rack.

    Let good people go to Israel and grow the Nation to it's rightful boundaries as given in the
    Bible and then let it lead the World to true peace and prosperity. As for the miscreants
    of the World there is a war coming in which they will be the true heirs of Haman………William

  • john Stone

    Forget nice because nice is not about survival in a dangerous world. If Britain were in working order, the upper crust would identify with the homeland and have a snobby disapproval of everyone else. Having lost that conceit they need another, and so even as the old conceit is stripped away, the left provides one. Someplace, somewhere there has to be someone to disapprove of for the sake of mutual pretension. The rest is detail.

  • burkasrugly

    They will be compliant and go by the UN Blasphemy law that Hillary Clinton pushed through with the help of her Muslim lesbian lover, Huma. What will people in the US do when the first person is arrested and put in jail for sharing their Christian faith? I think it will be all-out war.

  • Gloria Stewart

    Holding Jews to a higher moral standard as was mentioned early in the article, is a fine argument. It is valid when and only when one accepts the superiority of their civilization. Do Europeans accept this.

    As usual, the Jews are the miner's canary. Soon England and the rest of Europe will be Islamized, and no non Muslim will be safe,

    It reminds me of Winston Churchill's observation when told of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's capitulation to the Nazis at Munich. He said:" Mr. Chamberlain had to chose between war and dishonor. He chose dishonor. He will have his war later". England and all of Europe will have their war later.

    • john Stone

      Canary in the coal mine was what I was thinking also.

  • martin

    england has never been a friend to the Jews..they have always been a scurrulous bunch of Anti semites..The British empire is finished !

  • Suzanne

    The "debate" sounds like a farce. I'm really sorry Caroline had to go through it. It's bizarre seeing firsthand peoples (nations) contempt for Israel. Doesn't the Bible say somewhere that Israel will be the most hated of nations? How odd that this seems to happen right in front of our eyes! Hatred of Israel is so counter logical, too, as Israel is one of the best countries in the world. It's a non aggressive democracy, it's moral, it's progressive, it's standard of living is good and getting better, it's inventive, it's giving of itself. So, of all countries, what a ridiculous one to hate! We never hear about debates about the real bad guys either (like North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc.) do we? No, just Israel. Hideous and depressing!

  • Obama Guy

    Seems like a case of projection to me. The Europeans don't have to think of their own history of the Slave Trade, Colonialism, Anti-Semitism if they can accuse Israel of similar things today.

  • Obama Guy

    Especially the British upper classes.

  • Anamah

    Antisemitism is a disgraceful promotion of ignorance and the election of hate. Europeans are losing its basic human values, again. Idiots freed and nourished the progressive plague.

  • PamM

    It is notable that the audience in the discussion mentioned in this article was made up of upper crust, wealthy British people. These chatterati are the very ones who have been most infected with the mind destroying pc/mc virus and they acted accordingly. In such circles expressing pro-Israeli opinions makes one a social outcast, the modern equivalent of the mediaeval leper.

    They do not represent the views of the people as the talk in any pub will quickly tell you. Had they actually been unwashed rabble rousers they would likely have taken a much more sympathetic view, as such people are likely to have seen first hand the destructive effects of Islamic immigration and therefore view Israel and the Jewish community as natural allies.

  • Illuninati

    Caroline Glick, I admire you greatly.

    If the other posters are correct, that the European people are trying to assuage their own guilt for the holocaust, those who wish to support the Jews need to let the European people know that all Europeans are not responsible for the crimes of a few. Today's generation is not guilty for the sins of their ancestors. Also, during WWII, the British were against the Nazis.

    American Jews need to stop supporting the Marxists/Socialists against traditional Judeo-Christian society. Jews who think that they can work with people who are destroying our traditional American culture, and after our culture is destroyed, can continue to live here safety in the new Marxist utopia are wrong, possibly dead wrong. The reason America has been so supportive of Israel and Jews is because of our unique Christian culture. Destroy that and we will be no different from Europe.

  • pieceofmymind

    On behalf of the people fo the land where I was born, I can only say sorry! I am extremely aware of the magnificent contributions Jews and Israelis have made in practically every field of human endeavour.
    I am ashamed of just this one aspect of British historyu, the rampant anti-Jewish sentiment that has reared its head on many occasions.
    The four reasons you give( anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, addiction to Arab oil, and growing Muslim populations in Europe) are in my opinion symptoms and manifestations of the greater cause and that is a basic dislike of the God of the Jews. Please do not confuse name-Christians who form the established Christian churches (and thereby the political classes) with genuine Christians who both know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and share in His love and affection for Israel and the Jewish people.

  • Camilla

    I grew up in Italy and I can say the situation isn't much better there. We have a large mass of people brought up on bread and protest. Among other things like eagerness to practice urban violence and devastation, these people are characterized by being viciously anti-anything-Israel. Italy is still a Western country with Judeo-Christian values, but barely so. We won't hold up for long if things keep going the way they have been. This state of affairs is not coincidence. We had the strongest communist party of the West and we are seeing the ugly fruits of Marxism applied with dogged determination for over half a century. Between fundamentalist Muslims and marxists with zeal, poor Europe. God save us all and grant to all humans a love for Truth and the ability to pursue it.

  • The Bride

    This satanic anti-Semitism will continue to flourish, esp. After the Rapture, when the Jews will be persecuted as never before. God IS in control, & He IS watching how His Chosen People are treated; He will bring the world against them to show them He is the only One they should put their faith & trust in.

  • Carl

    As a British non Jew I would like to maintain that it is the minority and not the majority of Britons that are anti-Semitic. I myself have Jewish and Muslim friends and can appreciate the cultural and religious aspects that other nationalities and regions contribute to the UK.

    None of my friends are racist and those that I have discovered to be have been outcast from my group of friends, the UK as I have experienced it does not tolerate racism or discrimination and amongst my generation (20 somethings) it is certainly a taboo. Whilst some in the older generation (60+) are racist I find that it is mainly towards Muslims and have not experienced anti Semitic sentiment.

    I do agree that there is some confusion as to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict I believe that it is mainly to do with the media and the way that both parties are portrayed. Whilst I can understand that this should be changed to be less biased enabling the general public to make their own informed decision I do think this article is a gross misrepresentation of the UK. The minority should not tarnish the majority and I think you will find that there are plenty of educated, hard working and generous Britons in the world who would not encroach on your cultural, religious or political freedoms for anything.

    • Nahum Nigel Froumin

      Dear Carl, you sound to me like a straightforward honest chap. But your immediate environment and your own friends do not reflect the whole picture. Don't make your final judgement until you have read 2 books: 1. The Islamist – written by a moslem youth from Whitechapel London who grew up and finally saw reality. 2. LONDONISTAN by Melanie Phillips. Lots of real facts in there to help you form a more realistic view.
      Best Wishes

  • Nahum Nigel Froumin

    Comment from Nahum Nigel Froumin to
    I was born in 1944 and grew up in England. At age 5 going to my first day at school my mother told me "Don't tell the boys in school you are Jewish because they may not like you". The list of antisemitism in school is long. Later at Nottingham University the Jewish Society's notice board was always kept empty so we could avoid undesireable behaviour from antisemites. No Moslems were around then!
    Just last October we read that the Danish Jews are advised to hide their Jewishness in public.
    I WILL NOT HIDE! I moved to Israel in 1968. Here I'm just an ordinary guy, and I don't have to hide. I don't have to be apologetic or subservient. I can wear a kippa in the street and a Magen David lapel pin or necklace.
    Living in exile is not the way. Israel is the place for Jews.

  • John Stone

    >>Britain had the crap kicked out of it during WW2 and ceased to be Great, thanks to Hitler. Is this mere coincidence?

    My theory is that the response to Hitler and WW2 introduced social changes in Europe that are the current problem. Effectively, it empowered the political left who have managed to introduce a new and self destructive culture. If current trends continue, Europe will self extinguish itself in the cultural sense.

    Countries that are still in working order after a war can always overcome a war debt if they want to. England in particular, lost control of India because of the war, but I would imagine that was coming anyway. In general, the war empowered the US and diminished England as a global power, but there is no reason why England can not continue to be successful country on its new scale if influence.